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Chicago Blogger Covers PSUs Action

For the past couple months, PSU members have been researching Renaissance 2010, a plan that is being implemented in Chicago to close or charterize about 100 schools. We have learned a lot about the negative effects that this plan is having on students and communities, especially poor and working class communities.

Just as we see what is going on in Chicago, people in Chicago also see what is happening here. A Chicago blogger named Mike Klonsky noticed our action, and wrote a blog post about it.

In it, he mentioned that 16 more schools in Chicago are closing, as part of Renaissance 2010. The night before the school board voted on closing the schools, community members from across the city held a protest and candlelight vigil outside the school district building, and many spent the night there, camped out in tents in the cold Chicago winter. They called for the district to put any school closings on hold. They also asked for an independent study of the effect of the school closing on communities. Supporting groups include the teachers’ union, parents, students, and community organizations. They fear the effects that the closings and consolidations will have on students.

Click here to watch a short video clip about the camp-out protest.

Also, the schools that are closing tend to be in poor neighborhoods. According to CBS News, Chicago resident Darryl Smith said "If you close a school like Walter Reed, you not only close the school, but you take away valuable resources that the kids need." Another resident, Maria Hernandez, said: "We were there when it was hard; when it was dangerous, and now that it’s better for our children, and safer, now they want to kick us out. Why? Because we’re the minority, and we’re also low income families?"

Arne Duncan, the former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, is now our nation’s Secretary of Education. He is strongly invested in the Renaissance 2010 model, and could use it to affect national education policy. Here in Philadelphia, the school district has just come out with its strategic plan, called Imagine 2014. It calls for closing 30 to 35 schools, and replacing them with charters and outside providers. Essentially, the district just wants to give up on these schools, and offer them up to corporate interests. Despite massive resistance, Chicago has still gotten away with closing dozens of schools. We cannot allow this to happen here.

This news story was written by Greg Jordan- Detamore, and was part of the latest edition of PSU’s youth-produced radio show, On Blast. Visit On Blast’s podcast page to listen to the whole show. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast!

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